3 keys to treating–and even reversing–osteoarthritis

3 keys to treating–and even reversing–osteoarthritis

Of all the forms of arthritis, the worst of the worst has to be osteoarthritis. If you’re reading this right now and you suffer from OA, I certainly don’t need to tell you the characteristics of this painful degenerative joint disease. But for the elucidation of the rest of you...

Osteoarthritis is the doctor’s way of saying “joints worn out from old age.” Basically, it’s the degeneration of the cushioning material (the cartilage) that causes the condition’s characteristic pain and stiffness. Think about it: If the cushion is gone and the bones rub together, it’s not hard to understand that it’s going to hurt. The most severe forms can lead to the calcification of your smaller joints, like your fingers, knees, hips, back, and sometimes even your neck.

Of course, mainstream docs don’t have a solution for OA–they have a prescription pad and a symptom cover-upper. I have to admit that for years, I bought into the modern medicine myth that nothing would ever be able to significantly reverse calcification. But evidence from the natural medicine field has made me eat my words.

Research conducted at Cardiff University in Great Britain clearly showed that cod liver oil has two fairly impressive benefits for OA: 1.) It relieves the primary symptoms (pain and stiffness), and 2.) It literally reverses the destruction of joint cartilage for both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

More research suggests that it can help prevent osteoarthritis, too.

Here’s what to do: Take four cod-liver oil capsules twice a day.

You don’t hear me talk about herbs too much, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan. Especially if they give you an alternative to the pricey promises made by pill pushing peons working for the pharmaceutical industry.

About seven years ago now, the journal Phytomedicine published a study comparing the herb devil’s claw with a prescription “super drug” known as diacerein. The researchers found that both were equally effective in relieving arthritis pain. And I guarantee you devil’s claw is cheaper–and safer–too.

Here’s what to do: Take 2 grams of devil’s claw each day. It’s available at health food stores and from some pharmacies. One word of caution: If you’re on a blood-thinning drug such as Coumadin, you should not take devil’s claw since it’s been known to interfere with the action of such drugs.

Of course, cod liver oil and devil’s claw aren’t the only beneficial treatments for OA. No discussion about natural solutions for OA would be complete without mentioning the powerful arthritis-fighting duo of glucosamine and chondroitin. These two darlings of the alternative medicine world have done more than their fair share to put natural medicine on the public’s radar screen.

Plenty of studies have shown not just that they relieve the immediate pain of OA, which they do, but also that they literally reverse the calcification of the joints.

Studies done at the University of Leige, Belgium, found that glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin not only relieved the pain of the condition, but X-rays showed a reversal of the calcification of the joints. Can’t really ask for more than that!

Here’s what to do: If I were you, I wouldn’t wait for my rheumatologist to get the message–your joints could be one calcified mess by the time that day comes. Instead–just go try it for yourself!

A word about prevention, and then I’ll move on. If you’re not suffering from osteoarthritis–and you want to keep it that way–one of the best things you can do is avoid heavy lifting. I’ve talked ad nauseam about how excessive exercise does more harm than good, and this is just one of the reasons why. Doctors at the University Hospital in Rotterdam reviewed 16 published studies and concluded that heavy work, including lifting, appeared to triple your risk of developing hip osteoarthritis.